Rhus trilobata: A Winner by Any Name

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All summer, the shrub sat in the back corner of our yard, quietly filling the space between the fence and a dry creek bed. The olive-green leaves were a bit drab, but provided a nice, neutral backdrop for an adjacent Blue Mist Spirea (Caryopteris). The shrub had been a bit late to leaf out, and I was contemplating replacing it with something more interesting. I’m glad I waited. In the last few weeks, that inconspicuous shrub has suddenly become the star of the garden. Continue reading

Staghorn Sumac

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When most plants are finishing up for the season, Staghorn Sumac is just coming into its prime. During the growing season, the plant’s sturdy brown stems support  leaves a foot or more in length, with many 4-inch leaflets, all grass-green. But in the fall, its brilliant red-orange fall foliage sets the landscape on fire.

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